Icetrek North Pole Extreme Ski 2010

Apr 10

Dispatch #14

Published at 16:33
Dispatch created from email
Hi everyone. Cathy and I are back in Longyearbyen after what can only
be described as an epic adventure. The Arctic threw everything at us
in equal measure - headwind, southerly drift, poor contrast and
visibility, open water, deep snow, sastrugi... The only element
missing was a polar bear, oh and of course Santa Claus. It was without
one of the toughest weeks I've had in seven years of guiding North
Pole and it's no coincidence that none of the last degree teams made
it to the North Pole under their own steam. Unfortunately we all
tipped our hats to the Arctic ice and accepted a helicopter ride to
ninety degrees north, the top of the world, from our last position.
So, Cathy and I stood at the geographic North Pole on the afternoon of
April 9, in the same flat light and northerly wind that plagued us for
much of the trip. But was it a great trip? Well you'll need to ask
Cathy her opinion on that that but I think I speak for both of us when
I say that it was one of the most difficult but rewarding trips anyone
could have. To have been thwarted in one of our objectives, to ski all
the way to the Pole, was disappointing, but only momentarily when we
weigh it against the rich times we experienced along the way. Having
been through the Arctic ringer, Cathy can consider herself an
ambassador not only to the Arctic ice but to the myriad moods it
displays and the skills required to combat them. Skiing, snowshoeing,
avoiding frostbite in -30C, camping, crossing open water, hauling that
?&*%@# sled over endless ridges, she performed them all. Cathy did a
magnificent job, and between these sessions of dragging, pulling,
stumbling, tripping, cursing, laughing and groaning, she often stopped
to smell the roses. A great travelling companion she was. I hope the
attached photos (Cathy is in the green jacket) do justice to the
awesome time we had together. Thanks Cathy. Eric

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